Often viewed as “the most anticipated game of 2011”, Gears of War 3 is set to burst from its emergence hole on September 20th of 2011. I don’t drive a pickup truck, don’t chug beer out of a football helmet, and can spell my own name (on occasion) and guess what haters … I’m a huge Gears fan.. The Gears of War series gets a bad rap for being “another space marine game”, or “digital testosterone”, but I disagree. I’ve played the games, read the novels, and truly believe the Gears of War franchise is a rich and adult science fiction universe. But how does Gears 3 play you ask?
Indie developer Kukouri blends some old school PC tactical action in their latest title, Tiny Troopers. Previously released on mobile, now available on Steam. You take command of a squad of toon-styled soldiers as you wreck shop across a variety of maps and missions.
Immediately, the game reminds me of the classic Cannon Fodder series. You use a Diablo-esque point and click style control to move your squad around the environment, seeking out enemy combatants, destroying enemy structures, and picking up loot along the way. The game starts out as a fairly casual experience until you realize that your Soldiers follow you from mission to mission, keep them alive between missions and they rank up. In this way, Tiny Troopers reminds me of Myth, where I’d play a single mission fifteen times just to keep an archer alive that started the game with me.
You’ll want to keep an eye on your squad as the difficulty of the game ratchets up quickly. The game consists of a campaign of 30 missions, with 3 difficulty levels. Even at the lowest level, your troops are not safe from dynamite-chucking enemies. BOOM! And just like that my high-level bro is down, I rage quit to try again.
You’ve got to plan your missions carefully, by buffing your Soldiers through the game’s upgrade store before each mission. Money is easy to accumulate in the game, and you use that currency to buy body armor and upgrade weapons. In game, your squad can call in airdrops to give your squad powerful special weapons like grenades and missile launchers. Before a mission, you can hire a specialist to provide extra firepower.
You’ll want the extra firepower to tackle enemy bunkers, sniper outposts, mine fields and tanks…. and create bigger explosions, of course. The game has a toon-styled look to it, and the pint-sized Soldiers bark out humorous phrases while fighting.
Perhaps my only hangup with the game is the controls. They are not inappropriate by any stretch, any Diablo player will be familiar with the system. However, this game came from the mobile platform, so point-and-click is the only control scheme available. Personally, I would prefer controller support, so that I could two-stick the game Smash-TV style. It’s a minor suggestion, and I would be interested to see how it might work on a tablet (Surface, anyone?).
At a cool $9.99 on Steam, it’s a game that’s easy to pick up and play if you have hours, or just a few moments. Tiny Troopers provides a good level of depth through the use of a persistent squad, the upgrade system, and specialist troopers. The game also has some good replay value in tacking higher difficulty levels, and finding collectibles throughout the game. If you a fan of old school tactical games like Cannon Fodder, or collect modern point and click style games like Diablo or Torchlight, you’ll want to check out Tiny Troopers on Steam or iOS.